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The Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary lies in the Tirora Range of Bhandara Forest Division in Bhandara district. The Sanctuary is considered as an oasis in the easternmost part of Maharashtra, the Vidarbha region. The Sanctuary is an important connecting link for the movement of tigers between Pench Tiger Reserve (Maharashtra) and Indravati Tiger Reserve (Chhattisgarh). The forests have the advantage of two perennial tanks, one in Nagzira and the other in Thadezari. These two tanks guarantee a source of water to wildlife throughout the year. The Sanctuary has the rare distinction of allowing no grazing rights and no forest exploitation since its inception in 1970. The habitat in the Sanctuary varies from dense mixed forests, bamboo brakes, and grasslands interspersed with fruit and fodder trees, caves, valleys, aquatic and riparian habitats, along with seasonal streams. There are no villages inside the Sanctuary. Nagzira harbours diverse vegetation ranging from Dry, Mixed Forests to Moist Forests and is classified as a Southern Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest. Tectona grandis grows sparsely associated with Terminalia tomentosa, Anogeissus latifolia, Pterocarpus marsupium, Diospyros melanoxylon. Bamboo Dendrocalamus strictus grows abundantly. The vegetation of Nagzira has been described by Malhotra and Rao (1981).
AVIFAUNA: 166 bird species have been reported from the Sanctuary by the Forest Department (Misra undated). Both Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus and Grey Junglefowl Gallus sonneratii have been listed. Ali and Ripley (1987) have reported many areas where both these species occur, and sometimes hybridize. However, precise distribution ranges, especially the outer boundaries of their distribution are not fully recorded. Chitampalli (1977) has seen three Pale-capped or Purple Wood- Pigeons Columba punicea on a salt lick near Intiadoh lake. This bird is found only in the Eastern Ghats, northeast India and Bangladesh (Grimmett et al. 1998) so the presence of this Vulnerable species (BirdLife International 2001) in this region is interesting. Possibly, it is found in many adjoining areas in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Orissa. This whole region in central India remains under-explored as far as bird life is concerned. Jamdar (1982) has reported the Forest Wagtail Motacilla indica from this IBA. Four globally threatened species have been identified from this IBA. The Oriental White-backed Vulture Gyps bengalensis and Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus are widely distributed. Probably, this IBA would be quite important for the Green Munia Amandava formosa whose population is declining, mainly due to trapping for trade (R. Bhargava pers. comm. 2003). Nagzira has been selected as an IBA primarily for its biome species. It is one of the best areas to see the species of Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone (Biome-11). Of the 59 species identified by BirdLife International (undated), 28 have been seen here. The list is too long to be included here.
OTHER KEY FAUNA: Mammals include the Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard P. pardus, Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, Hyena Hyaena hyaena, Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Gaur Bos frontalis, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Chital Axis axis, Four-horned Antelope Tetracerus quadricornis and Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak. The Sanctuary harbours about 50 species of butterflies. Amphibians are represented by Common Tree Frog Polypedates maculatus, Fungoid Frog Rana malabarica and Indian Burrowing Frog Sphaerotheca breviceps. Among the reptiles, besides lizards such as Fan-throated Lizard Sitana ponticeriana, the Jerdon’s Snake-eye Ophisops jerdoni is also found here.
Key contributors: Girish Jathar, B. Raha and N. B. Bhure.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/06/2022.